WATCH MAGAZINE_June 2021_FBI

CAROL BURNETT | FOCUS

The Intercom Season 9—Episode 17

Burnett introduced the character of Mrs. Wiggins, a gum-chomping, dim-bulb secretary. She would go on to play the part 17 more times. “I playedMrs. Wiggins, with Tim as Mr. Tud- ball. Timwrote it at first withMrs. Wiggins as a doddering old lady. I went into costume fittings and Bob Mackie said I’d been doing a lot of old ladies. He wantedme to let himmake the character into this blond bimbo who the IQ fairy had never visited. He gave me this wig and high heels and pushup bra and black wool skirt that he’d had sitting there forever. I remember how it bagged in the behind! I said, ‘Bob, it’s baggy and I’m flat back there.’ He said, ‘No, stick your butt into it!’ The skirt was tight aroundmy knees and baggy in the behind, which is how I developed that trademarkWiggins walk.” A Salute to HarryWarren Season 7 —Episode 20 This mini-musical used more than a dozen songs by composer Harry Warren, including “Jeepers Creepers” and “Lullaby of Broadway.” “W e paid tribute to one of our favorite composers, HarryWarren, with Bernadette Peters as the guest. Shewas the cutie in town and I ran amusic store; Harveywas the guywhowas in lovewithher andhadplans to pinher at the promdance.We came upwith the story using a lot of what was already inHarry’s music.” This sendup of Mildred Pierce showcased Burnett parodying Joan Crawford’s Oscar-winning role. “T his was so brilliantly written. In fact, when we did it, I got a call from Joan Crawford herself to tell me she loved it! She said, ‘You gave your sketch more production than that f-ing Jack Warner gave us!’ I was Mildred Fierce Season 10—Episode 9

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practically raised at the movies. I used to come home after seeing a film, and my best friend and I would act out what we’d seen. So it was kind of a given when I got my own show that I would make sure I had the chance to be [the star], with my own costumes and lighting. I usually came up with the ideas for sketches like that, and [I’d] go into the writers’ room, where I’d say things like, ‘Let’s do a takeoff on a Joan Crawford movie’ or whatever else I was interested in. We’d all watch the movie and they’d write their own version.”

Clockwise from top: Burnett and Conway; Bernadette Peters; Burnett as Mildred Fierce

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